PORTLAND — Local, county, state and federal law enforcement officials met for a briefing today about the dangers of bath salts, a synthetic drug produced overseas that has resulted in thousands of emergency room visits across the country.

Bangor Police Chief Ron Gastia described the drug’s effects as some the worst he’s seen, with people becoming paranoid and violent from hallucinations.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd, who arranged the briefing at the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, is  a sponsor of federal legislation that would make the compounds in bath salts illegal. Michaud hopes the law can be passed swiftly.

Michael Wardrop, resident agent in charge of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency office in Maine, said national legislation would give federal agencies, including customs and border agents, tools to combat the problem.